There are times when I envy people their happiness, their joyous lives, pain free, carefree; superficial and shallow, perhaps lacking substance, yet happy. I sit at cafés, alternating between hope, despair, exuberant bliss, pessimism, sudden highs – wind through my hair, night lights, rings of smoke – and then I look at other tables, people laughing, eating, talking about mundane incidents from a mundane life, and it all comes crashing down near my ears, like waves crashing on a shore at high tide. I envy their normalcy, their ability to take life and just live it, without struggling to find answers for questions which have no answers – the reason for our existence, the meaning of love, an escape from the dry monotony dragging us by. Suddenly, I haven’t the slightest idea what I am doing there in that café in the midst of happy faces, so I overdose on caffeine and blow smoke on their faces, silently cursing them for having most of it together. I wish to be free of this eternal struggle with myself, the endless moralizing, philosophizing, rationalizing, and bouts of utterly bleak despair. Everything seems bleak. Get me out of here.
It’s an important date. It used to mark anniversaries of a past love. Year after year of gifts and romance, cards and special surprises, then absence, distance, bitter fights to coming back stronger with a sweeter love. The aging date stole time from under our young, naive eyes, only to throw them back at me as memories of a lost dimension.
5 anniversaries later, I started resenting the lost years of stumbling through life unquestioning, unaware of who I was and where I was headed. I was restless, and I knew this time the upheaval was far too big to be subdued under compromise. I knew then, that I would always be restless in love. I would always be certain only of what I don’t want, and always seeking what I want.
On 21st November last year, I bade goodbye to my first love, scared of letting go and guilty of having hurt him. But my instincts told me I’m doing the right thing. A year later, and nothing has changed; but nothing’s the same any more.
Who knew so much could happen in a year, especially so much of what would ultimately be remembered with either sadness, guilt or regret? I believed I was still the same person inside, just doing things I didn’t usually do. It’s just a phase, and I’m living someone else’s borrowed lifestyle of excessive partying, drinking and occasional screwups, I kept telling myself. Well, not anymore. This girl is sobering down, it’s done and resolved.
The date is still significant. This year the clock struck 12 and time passed by a drunk me in a stranger’s arms. It gave me a good hard much-needed slap on the face. It left me wringing my hands in despair, and the more I thought of what I’m doing the more I fell into depression, terrified of confessing to anyone for fear of being judged, and completely clueless of how to get out of this mess.
So I wrote this post and decided that if there’s one thing I knew about myself, it was that I’m not a coward. I told myself to take a deep breath and start by being completely honest, without fearing who I might lose in this process. Once again, this date seems to have woken me up from a deep stupor.
I guess now the date marks my years of stumbling down an unknown path, stubbornly alone, just as unaware of who I am, and just as sure of what I don’t want.
I fell off a cliff today.
My leg slipped, and I felt hands trying to pull me back up. But all I saw were expressionless eyes and cold hands. So I let go and fell. I could see rocks jutting out, twigs and tree branches. I could just put out a hand, and try to let myself escape with just a few bruises, but the hand wouldn’t obey. So I told myself the twigs would have snapped anyways. I kept falling and hit the water below, hard.
Instinctively I took a large breath before going under. I found the water welcoming. I felt it engulf and wash over me with a sense of peace. Until I opened my mouth and gulped water. Until I realised I couldn’t breathe, but I wanted to. I tried to move my arms and legs but they got heavy and the water kept dragging me down. Down below the surface where I opened my eyes and looked around to see nothing. Looked below, and saw rocks at the bottom. But I hadn’t hit rock bottom, not yet. The fall had been too effortless.
The lack of oxygen was closing in, suffocating, pressing on all sides. I felt the sharp sting of tears pierce at my eyes, constricting my remaining air supply, gnawing at my own self-pity. And then I realised I was still waiting for someone to come and save me. I was waiting for someone, anyone who cared enough. I believed there would be enough ripples on the surface for someone to look into the depth.
And then I thought, ripples fade and soothe the surface. The water stays calm until the next storm. I had no breaths left to wait for someone to cause another storm. I knew how to swim, I just needed to remember how to send the brain signals to get my arms and legs kicking.
First thing to do was come up for air.